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December 21, 2011     Chester Progressive
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December 21, 2011
 

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Bulletin, Progressive, Record, Reporter Wednesday, Dec. 21, 2011 11B COMMUNITY PERSPECTIVE Now's the time to support local pharmacy WHERE I STAND MICHAEL W. KIBBLE CLINICAL DOCTOR OF PHARMACY OWNER, QUINCY DRUG AND PORTOLA VILLAGE PHARMACY This past eight weeks I have been involved in discussions with a large retail drug chain. I finally handed over propri- etary financials, as they re- quested, and waited to hear back. For years they have re- quested that I consider sell- ing my business to them. This year I decided to test their sincerity. In the week it took them to analyze the data and put forth an opening offer I felt terrible. I asked myself, "Are you really considering selling to a large corporate chain? Mike, are you serious?" I have always looked upon my business ownership as really just a stewardship. Sure, I want and need to sell my business, at some time, but it has to feel good. The prospect of selling and then having the corporate giant shutter the windows of the flagship/cornerstone business of downtown Quincy did not sit well with my conscience. I care about community, I care about my employees. I cannot be part of creating another vacant business eye- sore in downtown Quincy. Sure, I could have retired handsomely, but right now I answer to a higher business calling. This being said, if other business leaders within Plumas County -- and I'll name these businesses: Plumas District Hospital and Eastern Plumas Health Care, Plumas Bank, Plumas Unified School District, the county employee labor associations, and any other small to medi- um size business offering mail-order prescription bene- fits to their covered lives -- continue to offer and promote this service, the next time I'm offered an open door to re- tirement, I may take it. Pharmacy is a very impor- tant component to the health care puzzle. Ongoing mainte- nance medication and treat- ment of chronic disease keeps patients healthy and out of the hospital. Payers of insur- ance, the above mentioned businesses, who signed con- tracts to move large blocks of business out Of our commu- nity, will continue to erode the health care safety net in place in Plumas County. Patients depend upon the four independent drug stores in Plumas County. Decision makers are moving this maintenance medication rev- enue stream out of the area. We cannot survive on cough/cold and acute pain management one-time occur- rence prescription needs of patients. Look, the system is screwed up but all it takes is important decision makers to say no to the mail-order prescription benefits. I know I've done it! The health care broker was not pleased with me, but I made a compelling argument against mail order. So the organization I worked for opted out. Finally, I wish to thank all my loyal customers and doc- tors that support Quincy Drug and Portola Village Pharmacy. Civil Grand Jury: What it is and what it does WHERE I STAND 2011-12 PLUMAS COUNTY CIVIL GRAND JURY The Plumas County Civil Grand Jury is an independent body empowered to investi- gate all aspects of county government under its "watch- dog" function. It is a body made up of volunteers and selected members from a jury duty pool who serve for a period of one year from July 1 through June 30. It is indepen- dent of county administrators and politicians. All jurors are sworn to secrecy to protect the confidentiality of com- plainants and interviewees. It is believed that the grand jury system began in England in 1166 under King Henry II. In those days, judges traveled from township to township, hearing cases brought before them by private citizens. Most of the cases heard were crimi- nal but many of the charges were not serious enough to warrant a full trial and with no screening device in place, it was a time-consuming or- deal for their judicial system. Therefore, the kings' install- ment of citizen groups to de- termine which charges were worthy of trial was a good arrangement to reduce the judges' workload. The system worked so well that these groups of citizens acquired a high status in their commu- nities and were required to take an oath to faithfully do their duty. They became a jury and were known as the large, or the grand, jury. When our forefathers came to America, they brought the concept of the grand jury with them as an institution to pro- tect the citizens from ujust prosecution. To insure its use for this purpose, the grand jury was expressly provided for in the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States. Specifically, the amend- ment provides:"No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a present- ment or indictment of a Grand Jury." Grand juries have existed in California since the original constitution of 1849-50. The codification of grand jury law came about in 1872 with the adoption of the Penal Code, where most grand jury law resides• This code included inquiring into local prisons, auditing of county books and • examining matters of commu- nity interest. In 1880, the grand jury was authorized to investigate local governments. Grand jury law is embedded in the Penal Code, all in a section identified as Part 2, Title IV, beginning with sec- tion 888, which states: A grand jury is a body of persons of the county sworn to inquire of public offenses committed or triable within the county. One grand jury in each county shall be charged and sworn to inves- tigate or inquire into county matters of civil concern. California Penal Code Section 919 requires the grand jury to inspect the county jail on an annual basis to deter- mine the condition and man- agement of the jail to ensure the safety and security of staff and inmates. The Penal Code also requires the grand jury to investigate and report on the operations, accounts and records of county and other local public agencies, officers, departments or functions, inquire into the willful or corrupt misconduct in office of public officers, and submit a final report of its f'mdings and recommendations no later See Jury, page 12B Plumas hospitals our lives depend on them Plumas County were to lose our emergency room or ambulance service when the next closest emergency ser- vices for many people are an hour or more away? Who would continue to live here if they had any other choice? A heart attack doesn't wait for an hour to do damage. In fact, every 30 seconds makes a great deal of difference in heart triage, which is why Steve:Waldeck, our ambu- WHERE I STAND Marysville/Yuba City, an or- ............................................................................................................. ganization he helped to great LINDA SATCHWELL success over his 25-plus-year PuBuc RELATIONS cOOaDtNATOR tenure there. He brought EASTERN PLUMAS HEALTH CARE cadre of community members can lead to "punishing" their hospitals, which can have devastating results. (I'm not criticizing the Measure B campaign as a whole, just a few bitter citizens on both sides of the debate•) In a small rural community and a coun- ty reeling under 19 percent unemployment, this seems about as counterintuitive as it can get. with him an optimism and openness that seemed to fit EPHC. Under this board and with a dedicated team of physicians and staff, the hos- pital in this old railroad town began to do better and better. It was an uphill struggle, but yourself inthe foot, it's more lance operations manager, is interested in hospital and medical issues. I'd never really thought about hospi- tals before. Like so many people, I just took for granted that one would be there if I needed it. The bond crisis in Quincy caused people to ask just what they wanted their hospital to be. Some said they'd be happy with a hell- pad. Others wanted an expen- sive shiny new state-of-the- .... art building. Many started 'looking at what their commu- nity really needed in a hospi- tal, and also just how much their community needed a viable hospital, clinics and emergency services if they were going to draw new residents and keep the kind of vibrant place they'd grown to expect and love. When I was hired by Eastern Plumas Health Care as their public relations coordinator, I didn't have to conjure up a positive image for the hospital, I'd been watching it, reporting on it, observing the positive way the board and leadership responded to the many challenges that face health care on a daily basis. What I wasn't aware of was everything that goes on in- side the organization. The daily successes and disasters, the struggles always to do better. And, of course, the on- going struggle to convince members of the community with long and sometimes bitter memories that we've moved on, that we're work- ing to be the best little hospi- tal we can be, that caring for our community matters very See Hospitals, page 12B I started covering Eastern Plumas Health Care when I was a part-time reporter in Portola, before moving to a full-time position in Quincy. I began as EPHC was transi- tioning from the previous CEO, Charles Guenther, to a new adminiStration under TomHhyes.'It Was =a v01afile time for the hospital. What I observed, however, was a dedicated board of directors determined to bring their small hospital through this latest crisis. They truly believed in their hospital and the essential role it played in the community. They brought on Hayes, who came from Fremont-Rideout in as they moved upward, they :th !ittl ........... Jt's not really like shootiag appearedtobe" e' e hospital that could." When I moved to the Quincy office of Feather Publishing, I began covering Plumas Dis- trict Hospital along with EPHC, which was moving through its bloody Measure A/B battle. In both cases, I saw how essential the hospi- tals are to their respective communities. I saw how anger on the part of a small so proud of his team's rapid response time. Strokes don't take their time either, and accident victims don't have the leisure of choosing their favorite doctor in Reno just to slight their own small hospital• While covering the hospital as a reporter, I surprised myself by becoming very like shooting yourself in the heart. Because if a commu- nity succeeds in punishing its hospital for what it per- ceives as misdeeds to the point where punishers win... the hospital will die, and the community as a whole is not likely to be far behind. What would happen, for example, if we in Eastern LETTERS to the EDITOR Liquid gold Plumas County is known for its variety of rich natural resources. However, mining is mostly a thing of the past, and logging has a tenuous foothold. What else does Plumas County have to offer? Water, "liquid gold"! I am currently taking the Watershed Protection and Restoration class at FRC. In this class and through other opportunities, I have been able to gain greater knowl- edge and appreciation for what I believe many in Plumas County may take for granted. As most Plumas County sixth-graders know, 1 percent of the water on this planet is considered "useable" by humans. Of this 1 percent, most is held in groundwater, and a measly 0.02 percent is held in all of the rivers that cover the planet• Back to Plumas County, our Feather River watershed is responsible for supplying water to two-thirds of Califor- nia's population. As we all know, water is essential to all life. California's population will continue to grow, mostly south of here. Like it or not, our water will continue to support that growth. I would like to suggest that, as residents of Plumas County, we educate ourselves to the "power" our watershed holds in regards to the future financial sustainability of Plumas County• I encourage residents to seek out the variety of projects in place to improve the overall health and enhanced function of our watershed. As stewards of this most valuable resource, would it not be fair to see those who enjoy our water once it leaves Plumas, to be accountable for some form of financial compensation? I believe through gaining a better understanding of our watershed and coming together collectively as an educated entity around our shared stewardship of our most precious watershed, Plumas County would stand  to gain not only now but well into the future. Denise Battagin Taylorsville Dirty politics As owners of Camp Lay- man, LLC, we would like to comment on the potential closure of the visitors bureau• We were planning to attend the supervisors' meeting last week to speak on behalf of the visitors bureau. We were notified the evening before the meeting that the agenda item had been postponed until January. Then, the board added the item back to the agenda at the meeting itself. This is dirty politics. Here is what we would have said at the meeting, had we been given the oppor- tunity. Camp Layman was purchased by our family • in 2010. Guests who had frequented the business for many years had quit coming because of the dismal condi- tion of the cabins• After many needed repairs, Camp Layman is a place worth staying again. Thanks to the visitors bureau, new and returning visitors are aware of that. All lodging providers pay a 9 percent bed tax. Plumas County is making money from this business, largely due to our advertising on the visitors bureau website and guide. Every single one of our fall guests came from the visitors bureau advertising of the local fall colors. The industries here are a sawmill, a railroad and tourism. If the Board of Supervisors refuses to fund the tourism industry, where do they think their future paychecks are coming from? It has been suggested that the county be asked for money to fund a website for visitors. Try plumascounty.org. That's the site already developed and maintained by the two remaining members of the visitors bureau. No money to fund the bureau? How about using some of the 9 percent bed tax that our guests pay? Shelley Wilkerson-McDonald Eric Wilkerson Patricia Wilkerson Camp Layman No value I have been following the issues over water rates in Portola and the subsequent pillorying of Mayor Wilson through a process of a recall petition. As I understand it, Wilson formed an ad hoc committee to specifically gather facts regarding water rates, and concrete informa- tion to help the council de- velop a new rate structure. This committee was appoint- ed after four public meetings were held, specific to water issues for the city. Either the mayor was unclear with in- structing the committee (comprised of two council members) on their mission, or else the committee mem- bers misunderstood their role. I heard that he sub- sequently apologized in public to the council for any misunderstanding. To cause an expensive re- call election to go forward, spending 10,000 taxpayer dollars for a special election and to risk tainting the repu- tation of a person (Mayor Wilson) who has served this community for nearly 30 years in a multitude of ways is ridiculous. As far as the process of re- call goes, I found a piece in a Minnesota paper that says it best: "The Editorial Board will not recommend candi- dates in the recall elections. Recalls should be used to punish gross malfeasance or corruption -- something that cannot wait for the normal election cycle -- not to overturn the results of an election or to dispute policy differences." In Portola, the position of mayor is rotated through the council members willing to serve. This means another council member, Julianna Mark, was appointed mayor last week, and Mr. Wilson is now simply a member of the council. I can't see any value for a special recall election. I support Dan Wilson and will cast my "no" vote in April. Let the petitioner who has never offended anyone throw the first rock. Bill Powers Portola Change directions 2011 will be remembered as a year of protests in the world. It is a year of global changes sparking reactions. The City Hall of the small city of Portola has been a center of protests for the last 12 months. It began with the appointment of John Larrieu to fill a vacant spot on the City Council and the appoint- ment of Dan Wilson as mayor. The leaders of the protests have been ex-supervisors, ex-city council members, an ex-city manager and an ex-planning commissioner. These leaders challenged the ethics of the City Council who refused to fund a special election to fill the vacancy. Twelve months later the City Council has been required by the public to have a special election for the recall of Mayor Wilson. The Proposition 218 procedure and his actions with the ad hoc committee have been the catalyst for his recall. The real issue is the state of the city. These ex-leaders have been concerned over the failure to change the direction of the city and the city's manage- ment policies. While the me- dian family income in the city has dropped from $35,156 in 1999 to about $29,300 at the present time the City Council and staff have approved of salary and benefit increases. The county's mddian income grew from $38,200 in 1999 to $61,202 in 2009. Its manage- ment and staff have been mak- ing concessions to balance their budget. The city is run- ning deficits. The city policy is raising taxes and fees on businesses and residents. The city has a new mayor for a new year. I hope that the City Council makes a resolution to change the city's direction by changing their policies. I wish all a very merry Christmas and a happy New Year! Larry F. Douglas Portola With gratitude The Quincy Merchants Group would like to take this moment to thank and welcome our new Plumas District Hospital CEO, Doug Lafferty. Both Doug and Karen Lafferty have come into our businesses and supported us in our efforts to continue providing the best quality and services we can to our community. We hope to be able to return that support. Thank you both again and happy holidays. Quincy Merchants Group No ad hominem Portola's Brian Luce claimed a basic education in argument "Ad hominem," and then set about proving it (Letters, Dec. 7). He claimed that for three years our country has been "leader- less" because the president "hesitates when it comes time to make a decision," fails in "creating certainty for employers to start hiring," doubts that "he ever shed a drop of sweat" to get his education, can't get by without his "carefully edited" teleprompter and administers a "failed admin- istration." I would say that President Obama is doing OK consider- ing that he inherited a col- lapsed economy, runaway See Letters, page 12B